We all know that children aren’t cheap. It’s been calculated that in the UK the average cost of raising a child from birth to 21 comes to £229, 251 (and that number is going up every year!). The obvious costs are of course food, drink and clothes – but there are many other hidden expenses. For those thinking about settling down and starting a family of their own (or maybe you’ve already started), here are some often overlooked overheads that you may want to consider.
Most of us choose not to have to deal with private school fees, but education still has its costs. Most parents forget about school uniforms and the fact that children will outgrow these very quickly. Nobody wants to be the kid with trousers that are too short or holes in their shoes.
School equipment is another added cost. This includes stationery, sports equipment and rucksacks. Some textbooks will be supplied for free by the school, but others in secondary school will likely not be.
Other hidden snags include school trips and club fees, which aren’t compulsory, but when your little one is feeling left out because they didn’t go on the Science Museum trip or wasn’t able to go to lacrosse club, you’ll wish you weren’t so frugal.
Health & Safety
Kids are bound to catch bugs that are going around and whilst a doctor’s visit won’t cost you any pennies, you may have to take a day off work to look after them, which could affect your income.
A few adjustments may also need to be made to make your home child-friendly. Corner-and-edge protectors can be bought for coffee tables and desks, hinge protectors for doors, gates to stop your child falling down stairs. For the car you may want to purchase a vehicle with a childlock, plus a booster seat. And it’s always worth looking into life insurance in case the worst happens: http://www.insurancehero.org.uk/general/the-need-for-parental-insurance.html
This doesn’t just include the birthdays or your own little anklebiters, but also that of their friends. Make sure you have enough set aside for cards and presents.
Dropping off and picking up your offspring from school will use up petrol, unless you’re lucky enough to live in walking distance. Either way, you’ll probably still find yourself having to taxi them around to friend’s houses and various social events (or if you don’t have a car, you’ll be relying on public transport more often).
A buggy will be needed in the beginning, although uncostly ones are easy to find.
All sounds too scary!
Just remember that many parents barely making minimum wage cope. A loving environment and the support of other family members will mean that your child has a good upbringing regardless of how much money you throw at them.
Financially it will be a challenge and the more stable you are to begin with, the easier it will be in the long run. If you’re barely scraping by as it is and you’re considering bringing in another mouth to feed, think about what you can do first to improve your situation. You’ll know in your heart when the right time is!